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Uber Riders Concerned After Driver Accused Of Sex Assault

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Uber is revisiting its safety procedures after one of its drivers was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting one of his riders last Sunday in Dallas, Texas.

Court records claim Talal Chammout recently served federal prison time for weapons charges and other crimes that should have prevented him from being cleared to drive for Uber.

Talal Chammout - Uber Sex Assault
(credit: CBS)

The city of Dallas said Tuesday evening that Chammout used a phony permit with a number that belonged to someone else, which expired in 2010.

The story in Dallas has Uber riders in Minnesota concerned.

"That can happen anywhere," customer Sara Obravovic said. "First thing is the safety, right? And that's what matters."

In a statement Uber said, "This is a terrible situation and our thoughts are with the victim. We immediately banned the driver and Uber's safety team is working with the Dallas Police Department to help with their investigation."

Uber pointed out the safety procedures it has in place to keep riders safe: extensive background checks on every driver partner, including a check of traffic violations and the National Sex Offender Registry.

Riders get the driver's photo and vehicle information before they get there. People we spoke with say knowing about your driver helps ease fears.

"Before you can select an Uber driver, you can actually pull up their profile and see what they're up," customer Sara Estey said. "You can see how other drivers rate compared to them, and then you can see what the riders are thinking about in terms of their reviews."

Uber says drivers are also tracked by GPS in real time. The company says it hopes Minnesotans know everything is being done to make sure their ride home with Uber is a safe one.

Both Minneapolis and St. Paul have strict guidelines for Uber drivers.

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